Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is afraid of him and sees him as a threat.
Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks came on Sunday during an interview with Agence France-Presse in the western province of Çanakkale, where the CHP leader launched a justice congress on Saturday demanding the release of jailed CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu, with workshops and panel discussions on the justice system in today’s Turkey also planned.
Dismissing threats against him made by Erdoğan, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “Erdogan is definitely shying away and scared of me. … He sees me as a threat. He from time to time delivers speeches that contain threats, but we will not be frightened off.”
Erdoğan had implied that Kılıçdaroğlu could stand trial in connection to the case of Berberoğlu.
Following Kılıçdaroğlu’s comments on the possibility of his arrest, Erdoğan said Kılıçdaroğlu’s arrest was not on his agenda.
Referring to Erdoğan’s attacks against him in his public speeches, the opposition leader said Erdoğan’s threats of launching legal action will not stop him.
“Let him [Erdoğan] threaten as much as he wants, we are right. We will defend justice, democracy, judicial independence and media freedom to the end because we are right,” he added.
During the four-day justice congress, Kılıçdaroğlu aims to draw attention to violations in the justice system in the wake of a botched coup attempt last summer. The CHP leader organized a march from Ankara to İstanbul in June, walking 450 kilometers in protest of a post-coup crackdown.
Kılıçdaroğlu has been lambasted and targeted by Erdoğan since he launched the march. President Erdoğan hinted that the CHP chair could be detained or brought before a court to testify for holding the march.